On tour with the Bavarian broadcast


So beautiful filming can be


Normally it is not my kind to talk at first about the weather but the meteorological peculiarities in the most stable month October had been such a curiosity that it is a must for me to write something about that. The photos show the camera team filming in line of sight to Catania and the old church of the suburb city of Misterbianco. This church hidden on the photos felt 1669 during the historical outbreak of Etna nearly to victim. The lava stream during the mighty eruption took its way from Monte Rosso (Nicolosi) straight to the city of Catania, and destroyed half of the centre. October 2003, everybody feeled the worlds end is may near again. We and the film team dragged ourselves the entire equipment still as soon as possible into the saving vehicles. This was necessary because the violent thunderstorm accompanied with haggle and rain was going down in such a dimension that in less than 20 minutes the streets of Misterbianco and Catania were flooded up to 30 cm. Through the streets a brownish mass of mud and water was running down in such a speed that we had to fear that the cars standing on the sidewalk will get loosen and carried away like boats. On the right 'yellow', Boris Behncke flying by.

The days around Etna

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1.) Dr. B.Behncke,  R.Gladitz   2.) Tom Fleckenstein,  R.Gladitz , Frank Bäumer, Dr. B.Behncke   3) Andreas Heidl,  B.Behnke, Martin Rietze, F.Bäumer   4) F. Bäumer, B.Behncke

Because of the suddenly changing of the editorship and chaotic treatments between the broadcast station and our team the trip nearly ended before he started. We should have our film shooting only if the volcano gets active.  Finally the whole came to a positiv decision, owing to the engagement of the production team under the direction of Ralph Gladitz and the 4D team


Frank Bäumer (4D-Produktionsteam)

After realizing that our film shoot will get cancelled (which volcano will break out in a schedule way) we took everything more relaxed. We investigated a little bit here and a little bit there and recognised that the forests of  Etna are good hunting areas for over dimensional mushrooms (boletos) and chestnuts. The first who came back with a big harvest was Frank Bäumer (above). Frank was the chief of science during the productions and is also fascinated from the Italian volcanism.

Charred dragon 2002


 2) Driving service Heidl   3) Behncke, Fleckenstein, Gladitz    4) BR Team during the film shoots

With the filming work in the north and northeast region the scientific part began with Boris Behncke. From distortion-shifts of whole roads to the consequences of the geological movement of the volcanic massif and/or the Sicilian mainland up to down gliding houses we had the possibility to get more geological details of Etnas power.

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The further information’s were given from Boris Behncke (Grazie Mille !) during the excursions around the volcano

1) Boris Behncke before the ruin of the hotel Piano Provenziana. In few minutes this hotel was rolled over by the powerful lava stream 2002.  2) ..the leeway of the entire northeast slope with is supposed with mass of 1000 km³ - you read already correctly-, is measurable with a simple foot-roule. The powerful separation crack pulls itself through - exactly here. The owner of this house probably did not made up his mind which power the tectonic movements at this volcano can cause. In the photo you can see the concrete plate and the edge of the ‘down moving’ house. B.Behncke had between them plenty of place. While the concrete plate is belonging to the so-called rigid part of the Etna, the house is situated on the mobile part. The measured amount of the total movement over the last years was 110cm (43 inch). With the outbreak 2002 the hut moved smoothly a half meter down. The owner by the way left this instable place of living. 3) Meeting at the piano Provenziana. On the left an old acquaintance of the outbreak from April 2000 (at that time on the way with Jacques Durieux). In 2002 he became a witness to the entire destruction.


Nino at the camera and his assistant. Tom Fleckenstein contacted this camera team from Munich in last minute, otherwise the entire thing would ‘have fallen into the water’(german phrase). Nino the volcano cameraman of the RAI UNO we were later told, filmed everything which was spectacular during the events and documented all activities which took place the last years at the volcano Etna.



Etna    Stromboli    Volcano world    Cinema

From Etna to Stromboli     Planets & Space

© photos& text by  Thorsten Boeckel, last modification 10.1.2004

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